How to Change Culture – Stop Doing the Same Things

By | April 17, 2016

Want a different result…then stop doing the same thing!!

Let’s take a look at how to change culture by considering the following questions. Are you one of those organizations that believe the road to a change in culture is tied to behavior change? Have you “unfrozen” from your traditional leadership, organizational chart and coaching skill development approaches? Are you looking for much stronger leadership and coaching at all levels?

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Yes, no, and yes…

These are the answers I most often hear from organizations who consider these questions. I have a news bulletin for those organizations…you won’t be successful in shifting the culture unless you are focused on:

  • Improved employee engagement
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Attracting and retaining top talent
  • Succession planning
  • Increasing health and safety
  • Energizing organization culture

BRUTAL FACT…

Recent research shows that 93% of executives agree that their leadership development approaches have failed!

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In a recent article, Jim Clemmer described 9 reasons organizations keep getting the same results:

  • Poor motivation: Leaders refuse to recognize that the best way to motivate people is to focus on what they do well rather than on areas where they need improvement.
  • Downward spiral: Leaders manage instead of lead…the more that leaders are involved in operational tasks, the more that decision making is pushed upward to them. This leads to reduced ownership for employees and our leaders being over-worked and unable to focus on creating an environment where employees are allowed to foster leadership skills regardless of their level within the organization.
  • Missed connections: Leaders don’t recognize the direct link between the behaviours they demonstrate and decreasing employee engagement levels.
  • Faulty feedback: Feedback from others is twice as accurate as self-assessment of strengths and effectiveness.
  • Negative 360 assessments: Traditional 360 assessments are negative and punishing. Again, planning for improvement in this way is discouraging, demotivating. In fact, this approach has proven to be 2 to 3 times less effective in changing behavior.
  • Development dead-end: There is no clear pathway to career development roadmap that is focused on skill or competency development and coaching. We just hope that improvement will be gained when the employee “tries harder.”
  • Poor coaching skills: Coaching is not advice. Coaching is a learned skill and, in fact, coaching has its own certification…a Certified Coach…we need to equip our leaders with the skills to be great coaches and build leadership capacity from within the organization.
  • Improvised coaching conversations: With skilled coaches leading the way,
    Two Way Conversations

    Two Way Conversations

    coaching conversations will be framed in a way to build…rather than break down…focus on the positive!

  • Spray and pray: Developing leadership and coaching competencies are rarely research-based using methodologies proven to boost effectiveness.

In “Leading Change,” John P. Kotter shares his thoughts on:

  • The steps you can take to move your organization on the road to a change in culture that is tied to behavior change.
  • “Unfreezing” from your traditional leadership approaches.
  • Coaching and building leadership capacity at all levels throughout your organization.

==>Click here to read my book review on “Leading Change”<==

Comments-1

 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear from you. Here is a link to my profile.

All the best!

Miles

Click here for my previous post

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About Miles

Hey everyone, I am Miles and I have been learning about and “practicing” change management over the past 10 years. During this period, I have learned, applied, evaluated and started over…learning from evaluation, applying lessons learned, evaluating…what seems like a million cycles. I have tried just about every change management approach on the planet and each of them has pros and cons recognizing that not one organizational change initiative looks exactly the same.

13 thoughts on “How to Change Culture – Stop Doing the Same Things

  1. Eric

    Hi Miles,
    Thanks for the info. I am taking an operations management class at my university and I found that there are a lot of the same themes in your post. One of the biggest is that the managers can’t be afraid of change. Changing a culture can be a challenging task, and it definatly takes time but it can be done.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hi Eric and thanks for sharing your thoughts. You may also have heard that managers are the #1 resistant group to change as they fear loss of control. Employee engagement is another driver for a shift in culture and you might be interested in taking a look at my post where I summarize a research paper I completed on the impact that employee engagement has on transformational leadership. Please let me know what you think.

      Cheers,

      Miles

      Reply
  2. Vera

    Hi Miles, I just viewed your web site. It looks like you have been doing this for awhile. Every thing seems to work well. The only thing I would change is to use different wealthy affiliate ads on the different pages. You have the same ads on all the pages. You might want to mix it up more. Just my opinion. Good Luck, Vera

    Reply
    1. admin

      That’s a great suggestion, Vera. Thanks for taking the time to review and share.

      All the best,

      Miles

      Reply
    2. admin

      Vera, that’s a great suggestion. Thanks for taking the time to take a look!

      All the best!

      Miles

      Reply
  3. Henry

    Before I even started reading your article, I liked the idea right off the bat. It’s great to have our attention on topics that reminds us how important it is to bring a change.. but we also suspect that this is one everlasting fight.

    There’s a quote that goes like: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

    I believe a big part that directly reflects from these 9 reasons is lack of communication itself.
    Some parts get overloaded while other get completely ignored, so there’s that & system will crash due to its inability to keep details in balance. What to you think?
    Yes, it’s easy to say yet hard to put into practice.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Henry, I appreciate your review and thoughtful comments. You are right on with respect to communication. Best practices research indicates that a message needs to be sent 5 – 7 times using multiple channels of communication (i.e. in person, email, poster, etc.) before the message is heard. My communication plans use this best practice as a starting point! Would you agree that it is important to focus messaging on how the change will or will not impact the people?

      Thanks,

      Miles

      Reply
  4. George

    Hi Miles,

    Great post!

    You are ever so right in your reasoning. It so ofeten happens that get so clung upon this habitual behaviour when all it takes is to be yourself and do things that allow you to stick out like a sore thumb.

    If you are not willing to learn new tricks and get rid of those same old routines that don’t work, you will never see change in any field, be it business or personal life.

    Reply
    1. admin

      George, thanks for taking the time to review and comment!

      Miles

      Reply
  5. Jeff

    Miles, in your post you said, “Recent research shows that 93% of executives agree that their leadership development approaches have failed!”

    That doesn’t surprise me although you don’t cite a source. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true.

    I have my theory for that. And the “failure” by executives isn’t confined to just, “leadership development.”

    In my experience, management is lacking in many areas. So many managers seem unqualified for their positions. That’s the main reason I don’t work for any of them is because I don’t tolerate incompetence. I don’t suffer fools gladly.

    They need more than a motivational course or two to fix the problem. Just sayin

    Reply
    1. Miles Post author

      Jeff, thanks for your thoughtful comments. Obviously, you have much experience dealing with the challenges of working with managers who do not possess the competencies to be “leaders!” In his book, Leading Change, John Kotter points out the differences between “managers” and “leaders”. You’re right that a motivational course or two will not fix the problem. We need to do a better job recruiting people who have the competencies to lead organizational change. I wonder if you have been in a management/leadership role and how you might have overcome the challenges of leadership?

      Thanks,

      Miles

      Reply
  6. Jeff

    Choosing the right people is key. Problem is, me thinks, that there just aren’t enough competent people to fill the available positions.

    It was always a breath of fresh air to be able to work with one who was a good leader. Far too rare.

    I ran my own office for 15 years. I don’t think I was the best leader. Not the right personality I think. I don’t know.

    I got burnt out, and now I’ve left all the leadership stuff to others.

    But I still have to deal with incompetence in business dealings, as an outsider…a customer. And in my opinion there are way more incompetent people in positions of leadership than competent, capable people.

    Reply
    1. Miles Post author

      Jeff, I hear what you are saying. Even in the organization where I currently work, there is a concern about the lack of competent leadership. I have a passion about building leadership capacity at all levels within an organization. Leadership is not always about a “position!” We can all be leaders and I am looking forward to working with organizations to build this capacity and shift to a culture of “shared leadership” where this may mitigate the concern you and I have about relying on specific people/positions to provide leadership. What do you think?

      Miles

      Reply

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